With only a few more releases left in Phase 4 of the MCU, the stage is set for another impressive round of programming in Phase 5 starting in early 2023. But even with a number of thrilling new entries on the way, there are concerns about the quality of the MCU with over three dozen movies and TV shows having already been released.
Following the releases of both Ms. Marvel and Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel fans made their voices heard about concerns for Phase 4, which ranged from calling it a "mixed bag" to noting it as the worst Phase in the MCU to date. This comes as the MCU has had to deal with more production challenges than ever before thanks to the pandemic, which makes the successes in Phase 4 that much more impressive.
Now, as the studio looks ahead to the middle Phase of the Multiverse Saga, a longtime Marvel producer/collaborator has shared a new message to fans worried about a repeat performance in Phase 5.
Andy Park on Fan Concerns for MCU's Phase 5
Speaking with SyFy, Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park attempted to ease the minds of fans worrying about what's coming in Phase 5 of the MCU.
He noted how the Visual Development department is in place to make sure that iconic characters from Marvel Comics are fleshed out and delivered the right way on the big and small screen, especially as "the picture gets bigger and bigger" after Avengers: Endgame:
"That’s what the Marvel Studios Visual Development department is all about. We exist to help flesh out these characters that initially come from the amazing creators in the Marvel comic books world — from Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and all the decades afterward. It just gets wider and wider, the picture gets bigger and bigger, even after Endgame."
Park went on to tease what's coming in Paul Rudd's third Ant-Man movie along with the last film in Phase 5, Thunderbolts, which will both open up new corners of the universe to explore:
"You think, 'What else in the world is there to go? We’ve seen everything! We’ve seen the cosmic, we’ve seen this and that.' But moving forward, we’re gonna have Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we’re gonna be seeing that pocket of the universe; we’re going to be seeing Thunderbolts … It’s the exact same model as the Marvel Comics … It’s been many, many decades of just building upon characters and worlds, but it’s all in the same universe."
Park looked to how special Marvel Studios has been over the years, specifically heaping praise on leaders like studio president Kevin Feige that the team can trust. Even with movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, which weren't necessarily surefire hits, the journey has been a huge success as Park called it "an honor to be able to work with the people here:"
"I think all of us collectively agree what a special place this is and to be able to contribute to these projects by leaders that we truly trust, obviously starting with Kevin Feige. We trust in his vision and where he’s going. We’re constantly impressed. Even some decisions we question like, ‘Guardians the Galaxy right after Avengers? I don’t know about that decision...’ But then we work on it and look what happens. Then Ant-Man comes out and we’re like, ‘I don’t know about Ant-Man. Maybe it’s too soon for a movie that’s called Ant-Man.’ He knows what he’s doing. It’s really been an honor to be able to work with the people here. It’s been an amazing time."
Park also discussed the pieces of art that he produced for both Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Thunderbolts, which were shown off at the D23 Fan Expo. He noted that he's in "a unique department in the film industry" that actually works full-time, largely working on posters like that for big events like Comic-Cons:
"Because we’re a unique department in the film industry, where we’re full-time, we work even in post with VFX. We [also] work with marketing a lot of times. So we’ll get to do those illustrations and posters for Comic-Cons."
He explained how his poster for Quantumania only hinted at both the Quantum Realm and Kang the Conqueror without fully revealing anything while also teasing new suits for Cassie, Scott, and Hope in the movie:
"I did that one for Quantumania and that’s kind of like the first full reveal of anything for the film. It’s hinting at the Quantum-Verse, as well as hinting at Kang without showing too much. And, of course, three things that you see clearly are the costumes of Cassie, Scott, and Hope … and you see a little bit of their personalities in there. Kevin had the idea that as they come out, each one’s going to be revealed. So I kind of had to go back into the illustration to make it work for that reveal as the actors are coming out. It’s an honor to be able to be part of those kinds of introductions."
Phase 5 Set to Reinvigorate Marvel Story
Phase 4 of the MCU has had a wide range of success over the past couple of years, even though, at its peak, it brought the highest-grossing MCU solo movie ever in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But according to Park, Phase 5 should help quell some of the concerns about the franchise growing stale with its next dozen projects on the way.
Some of these new movies and shows will keep things on a ground-level story, even with a major highlight in Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio's Daredevil: Born Again coming in 2024. But more so than ever, this new Phase will help set things up for the Endgame-level event in the Multiverse Saga with the pair of Avengers movies coming in Phase 6.
The fact that the MCU can bring these kinds of events at this time is an accomplishment in and of itself, even with some entries that haven't lived up to fans' expectations in the Infinity Saga and Phase 4.
In the end, Park still sees enormous potential for the franchise after its first three Phases, which is only about three years from culminating in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. And with Phase 5 containing some impressive new projects before the Multiverse rips open, there should be plenty of anticipation to see where the MCU is going next.
Phase 5 of the MCU will start with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which premieres on February 17, 2023.